Seasoned theatremakers know that to create beautiful, life-changing art, you need to find the right partnerships to pad your bottom line. Money, after all, makes the world go ‘round! 

Getting a business to sponsor your program has a variety of benefits, including: 

  • Extending the reach of your theatre: Companies have their own established fan bases and clientele that you can piggyback off of to gain more patrons. This can increase your digital contacts, email subscribers, and social media followers. 
  • Streamlining outreach to an existing demographic: Instead of throwing various marketing and outreach strategies into the ether and hoping for the best, partnering with an existing business grants you immediate and direct access to their client base. 
  • Lending credibility to your theatre: The bigger or more well-known your sponsor, the more reliable you will look. Both people in and outside your patron circle will trust you more if other reliable businesses trust you. 
  • Taking you from breaking even to turning a profit: Sponsors supply you with something critical: capital, which can take your theatre and its ongoing projects to the next level. 

That being said, it’s obvious that sponsorships are an excellent way to increase funding, make community connections, and craft a win-win situation for both (or all) parties involved. On The Stage explores a few ways to nail the art of forging successful sponsorships

How To Craft Win-Win Sponsorships

Look for Alignment 

When choosing people or businesses to partner with, you don’t want to utilize a one-size-fits-all approach. Research potential partners and see how their audience and customers align with yours. Alongside patron similarities, do you and your potential sponsor align on values and marketing objectives? If not, it may be time to turn elsewhere. 

Before investing time on companies or people that may not be the best fit, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Does this potential sponsor understand the value of the work I do? Do I, in turn, have respect for the work they do? 
  • Have these potential sponsors had successful partnerships in the past?
  • If not, will I be able to convince them this type of partnership will pay off? 

Make It Mutually Beneficial

This one may seem incredibly obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people, companies, and business owners ask for favors with nothing in their own arsenal to help out down the line. 

Sponsorships are partnerships – and partnerships should be equal. So, when teaming up with sponsors, ensure they feel that they’re getting their money’s worth from their investment.

A few ideas of offerings you can give aside from capital include:

  • Community connections 
  • Social media leverage
  • Free ad space in the show programs
  • Shout-outs before showcases 
  • Swag – like merchandising, posters, hats, etc. 

Maximize Activations 

What, exactly, is activation? Well, sponsorship activation is the act of leveraging the sponsorship to engage with your audience and achieve your objectives. 

Attempt to put your shared clients, patrons, and donors at the forefront by developing ways to add value to their experiences – this, in turn, will maximize the power of your partnership. Consider hosting events, running co-branded marketing campaigns, or rewarding patrons who are loyal to both partners. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust

Throughout your sponsorship period, make sure you are measuring and evaluating how the partnership is going. Whether you’re tracking metrics like brand awareness or customer engagement or ensuring you’re both getting the return on investment, it’s best to consistently consult the data.

The benefits are twofold. First, both parties are aware of the steady value that they’re getting from this partnership. Secondly, by constantly checking the data, you and your sponsor can pivot or adjust your strategies to ensure everyone gets what they want and expect. Bottom line: Keep your lines of communication open. 

Consider Collaborative Work

Work with your sponsors to create engaging content that benefits both parties. This could involve co-producing videos, articles, or podcasts that showcase your theatre and your sponsor’s products or services. By pooling resources and creativity, you can reach a wider audience while offering unique and valuable content.

You can also create co-branded merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, or posters that feature both your theatre’s branding and your sponsor’s logo. These items can be sold at your shows or given as gifts to sponsors and patrons, serving as a tangible reminder of your partnership!

Enter On The Stage

Ready to take the next step in elevating your theatre’s success through strategic sponsorships? Connect with On The Stage today and discover how we can help you forge impactful partnerships, engage with a vast network of theatre professionals, and unlock new opportunities for your theatre.

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